I recently came across this blog post and thought it raised some interesting questions about American parents and the style in which we raise our children.
The writer talks about how in other countries they focus on teaching their children manners, taking care of their siblings, hanging up their jackets, cooking, etc. while we, here in America focus more on cognitive intelligence.
We are given milestones from the day our children are born and we are taught to teach them to meet those milestones until they’re well out of college. But do any of those milestones include saying “nice to meet you” or teaching a younger sibling a new thing or not interrupting when you’re talking to someone else?
I think there is such competition between parents and kids about when a child reads, or high he can count, or what he gets on his SATs or what college he gets into that we, as parents, focus more on the ABCs and 123s than we do the please and thank you’s. Wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped putting pressure on ourselves and therefore each other?
Yes, I want H to progress and do well in school when the time comes, but from the beginning I have tried and will continue to try to put an emphasis on relationships with other people, manners, and respect. When we see a homeless person on a cold day, H and I buy them hot chocolate and although he is possibly too young to understand what we’re doing, I take the time to explain it to him. Someday he will understand, and just like with anything else, the earlier and the more you do something, the more he will understand it later on.
What are the priorities you have as a parent when you’re teaching your child?